Pizza – the famously delish diet staple for all New Yorkers, born and brought, alike. Whether you’re out for a full pie, or just a plain slice, pizza brings people together, regardless of your choice of toppings. You can eat it any time of day, any type of way, and I’d even go as far as saying it’s the (unofficial) grub of Gotham. Characterized by its round, thin crust (usually well-done), sweet sauce and very particularly placed mozzarella cheese, this food favorite originated in the Big Apple in the early 1900’s.
In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi founded the first pizzeria in Little Italy – a namesake restaurant on the corner of Spring and Mott, Lombardi’s. Since the inception of these $.05 cent pies, pizza has become a New York City staple feeding the mouths of those young and old, rich and poor, and just about everyone in between. And while it’s not really clear just how many pizza places exist, there are some estimates claiming more than 500 pizzerias dot the dense streets of New York City.
Now you’re probably wondering what took me so long to blog about this beloved bite, but it’s really because I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to share my pizza pie production. Since I moved to New York City (just over a year ago), I’ve had pizza at least once a week, if not more, from a number of pizza palaces, even including a hidden pizza speakeasy (the idea was definitely better than the final product). I guess you can say I like pizza. And while I’ve had good pizza, I’ve been holding out for the best of the best to share my pizza parade with the world (well, at least you).
While making such a bold statement is a rather subjective thing, I’m pretty sure there’s a consensus about the pizza product I’m about to report on. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed pizza pro like myself, or just a lover of fabulous fare, there’s a reason why people wait two hours for a piece of the pie at Di Fara’s in Brooklyn. No, he’s not giving it away – as a matter of fact it’s a pricey pie at $5 a slice and $30 for a standard cheese pie (and cash only) – but Dom DeMarco knows a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to this city staple.
This properly proclaimed Pizza King of NYC, has been tossing and tugging at dough since 1965, when he and his partner, opened up shop. And although Dom bought his partner out years ago, each pie has been handsomely handmade by the master himself. It’s even been said, if he’s out of commission, you ain’t getting’ any because the shop is shut. Lucky for me, Dom was in this Domingo.
I entered the sliver of space on Avenue J in Midwood, Sunday around 2PM. Along with the other spectators (aka customers), I watched as he carefully crafted his pizza product. He kneaded, topped and drizzled, and then slid the beautiful beasts, one by one, into a four-stacked oven.
When I initially placed my order, his daughter (the one taking the orders and handling the customers so her dad could work his magic) said it would be about an hour and a half before our round 18” piece of cheesy perfection would be complete. Let me tell you, those were the longest minutes of my life. But when the moment of truth finally arrived, it was exactly that, the truth, the real deal of all pizza pies I’ve ever had.
Eight slices of Gotham goodness, and while I didn’t inhale them all by myself (though I probably could’ve), those were the best 90 minutes I’ve ever spent waiting for something. It’s no wonder celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain claim Di Fara’s is “the best of the best”.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, eight slices were down the hatch, and the DiFara dream was over – at least for the day. It was a heavenly experience, and I can’t wait for another DeMarco dish soon. And while my personal pizza tour is far from over (gotta give everyone a fair shot at the title, right?), a dip into DiFara’s has been a highlight of my concrete jungle culinary journey, thus far. Stay tuned for more of my “Grubbing in Gotham” adventures.